Woody Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn has finally broken her silence in an in-depth interview with New York Magazine. She opened up about the allegations, her marriage, her relationship with her adoptive mother and how much she disliked being painted as victim. She remained relatively quiet about the allegations until now. She has spoken out before about how she was characterized as a “slow” and “dim” adult who was taken advantage of Woody Allen but now she has decided to show more of her story, especially her own experiences with her adoptive mother Mia Farrow.
The interview, written by Daphne Merkin, was not intended to smear her adoptive mother, but Soon-Yi felt like it was time to break her silence because of how hurt she has been by the allegations leveled against her husband by her adoptive sister Dylan O’Sullivan Farrow. In the wake of the Me Too movement, these allegations have gained new momentum and Soon-Yi felt like she could no longer remain quiet.
Soon-Yi insists that her granting this interview had nothing to do with her trying to get back at her adoptive mother but that, “what’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t.”
The article also reveals details about the couple’s townhouse and their discussion over lunch about how Soon-Yi was painted as a “retard” after the affair came to light. Allen joined the interview for lunch and said that, “People think that I was Soon-Yi’s father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter.” He said that couldn’t be farther from the truth. According to the article, Mia Farrow’s point of view about the affair and everything that followed has been well distributed in the media. Also, Ronan and Dylan Farrow have been very vocal about allegations against her husband but Soon-Yi stayed silent for decades.
Soon-Yi details her relationship with her mother growing up and how the only option she had was to be perfect. She discusses with the author about how she came to be adopted by Farrow and her life growing up in China. Even from the beginning, Farrow did not come across as sincere to Soon-Yi. At one point, Farrow after she adopted Soon-Yi demanded that she make a tape of her story about being a child of a prostitute who was beaten severely by her mother. Soon-Yi refused the request and was puzzled by this because she had no recollection of being beaten by her mother.
She claims that since the beginning her mother and her were lie “oil and water”. She says that Farrow was not maternal and Soon-Yi was still traumatized by the first time farrow gave her a bath. Soon-Yi says, “I’d never taken a bath by myself, because in the orphanage it was a big tub and we all got in it. Here, it was for a single person, and I was scared to get in the water by myself. So instead of doing what you would do with an infant — you know, maybe get into the water, put some toys in, put your arm in to show that you’re fine, it’s not dangerous — she just kind of threw me in.”
Soon-Yi also recounts when she moved to the US and her time growing up in a sporadic environment. She barely received an education and by her admission she has a learning disability that made it difficult for her to advance her education. She said, “I’ve never spoken about it, because Mia drummed it into me to be ashamed about it. It comes out in spelling, and I had to work much harder in school. But I was driven and interested, and I wish I’d had a tutor the way some kids do for homework.”
She speaks of being humiliated by her mother and slapped by Farrow when she was in trouble. Both Soon-Yi and Moses Farrow has similar recollections of being broken down emotionally by Farrow through harsh words, name calling and humiliation. When asked if she had any positive memories from her childhood, she flat out said no.
The article also delves into great detail about the beginning of the relationship between her and Allen. At first, she only knew him as the boyfriend to her mother but she stated that she did not like him. At first, he was not interested in getting to know the children but over time, Soon-Yi and Allen started talking and then spending some time together by going to Knick’s games. She talks about how their relationship started to blossom when she turned 21. She said that it was a very gradual process and that she said happened over a long period time. They spent a lot of time with each other and soon an affair started. They both discussed the potential issue it would cause with the family and they deiced to keep it a secret.
But secret always have a way of coming to light and soon it was discovered that Allen and Soon- Yi were having an affair. She acknowledges that the affair was not the moral thing to do. She refers to it as, “a huge betrayal on both our parts, a terrible thing to do, a terrible shock to inflict on her.”
Soon-Yi was kicked out and cutoff from her family. She didn’t know who to trust and recalled how scared she was of Mia during this time. Mia Farrow became increasing irrational and angry. She would call Allen to tell him that Soon-Yi was threatening to kill herself, something that Soon-Yi adamantly denies ever wanting to do.
Soon, the infamous custody case took place. It became the the featured topic in tabloids across the country. The news of the allegations against Woody Allen soon become one of the most talked about cases in the 20th century. The article also says that two of Mia’s attorneys floated the idea of a $5-7 million dollar confidentiality agreement in order to keep the allegations under wraps. The next day he sued for custody and soon, the couple went public with their relationship. The author then asks Soon-Yi if she wishes she would have done anything different with the affair and she simply answered no.
The article ends with Soon-Yi talking about their adoptive children and the fact that she is a very hands on mother. Her children are older and now her and Allen have grown closer than ever. The article ends with the author stating that, “Later, as I walk home, I find myself wondering whether Soon-Yi’s voice — having finally been heard — will be listened to, much less change anyone’s opinion. It’s a gamble she’s taken by speaking out, but then again, she’s never been one to play it safe.”